Skip to main content

tv   Reel America Normandy the Airborne Invasion of Fortress Europe - 1944  CSPAN  May 25, 2019 10:00pm-10:56pm EDT

10:00 pm
follow us on twitter for information on our schedule and to keep up the latest history news. marks the 75th anniversary of the june 6, 1944, d-day invasion of nazi occupied france. "normandy: the air force -- the airborne invasion of fortress europe" is an hour-long documentary produced by the u.s. army air forces. it details the planning, training, combat operations and summaries of the -- after-battle summaries. with an emphasis on more than 500 gliders that were dropped behind enemy lines on the morning of june 6. ♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, the isture we are about to see
10:01 pm
as important [inaudible] it rapidly details the use of gliders in normandy, gliders which you have to manufacture. you will not soon forget this picture. to may even be able recognize gliders which you built with your own hands. i think you will swell with them, thewithout invasion of german held territory could not have been as successful as it was. i want you to know that we share this pride with you. done, the job is not yet we still make gliders of every description, such as only you can make. in the past, you worked very
10:02 pm
, but now you must work even harder. [indiscernible] we need to speed victory. thank you. ♪ >> this is the story of the operation which began the assault on the continent of europe. willarrier command
10:03 pm
transport and resupply parachute and glider element of the 82nd and 101st airborne division and will be prepared to transport elements of the british first airborne division, as directed. the u.s. 101st airborne division will begin mending approximately 30 minutes prior to civil twilight on the morning of d-day to assist the fourth division in captureial assault and the town. the u.s. 82nd airborne division will land to the immediate west of the 101st for the purpose of defending the movement of enemy reserves to the east and north. simple, isn't it? sos mission which reads easily calls for an attack from england on the continent of europe. [indiscernible] by the atlantic.
10:04 pm
mined, trapped, rippling with fortifications. an impregnable barrier, said the nazis. the combined chiefs of staff decided frontal assault alone would not crack fortress europe. the atlantic wall must be vaulted in the cracking process begun from the rear. the initial effort by land, sea, and air would be made in this area, spearheaded by troop carrier and airborne forces.
10:05 pm
but before the d-day, there must be a number of lesser the days, the first large-scale airborne operation was performed in conjunction with the assault on sicily, 10 july, 1943. taking off from fields in africa for dropping zones in sicily, troops transported by glider and aircraft, members of the 101st and 82nd divisions. parachuted anr infantry battalion to start the invasion of north africa, but the invasion of sicily was the first real test for troop carrier units, which had trained in maneuvers in texas, the carolinas, and england. the sicilian operation indicated there was much to be learned about the planning of an airborne operation. troop carrier aircraft were shot down by friendly forces and
10:06 pm
parachute drops were widely scattered. tactical success, however, rich in experience for the units which would later participate in the assault on the continent. home, but was driven more navigation aids were badly needed, that the gliders must be landed at slow speeds, but some type of air break was necessary to decrease the rate of descent of gliders going into small fields, that protection for the nose of the glider in rough landings should be provided, not only to protect the pilots, but to facilitate unloading. a technique had to be worked out for gliders landing on water. to the lesson of sicily was added the experience of the highly successful operation in the mountain valley of new
10:07 pm
guinea in which troop carrier and airborne forces showed the practicability of a well-planned .aylight operation ♪ back in the united states, many lessons learned from the operations in sicily, markham valley, and salerno, were made part of training and maneuvers. the griswold nose was developed to protect the glider in rough landing. parachute arrestor was adopted to permit landing the glider in restricted areas. intercom between total plan and glider was introduced.
10:08 pm
blitz landings were out. glider pilots were taught a slow , constant rate of dissent with a slow landing to a precise spot on the ground. many types of combat aircraft were suitable for towing the cg 4a glider. see 25 was used. [indiscernible] perform this task well. even the pb wife -- even the pby became a tow plane.
10:09 pm
note the takeoff of the pby before the glider. tow.s a b-17 in dual c-54. toe by a airborne aviation engineers trained and entered [indiscernible] their probable use for aviation strips. troop carrier airplanes are converted in an matter of .inutes into ambulance ships
10:10 pm
♪ overseasons learned grew the doctrine expressed in war department circular 13, employment of airborne and troop carrier forces. doctrine was put into practice, and circular 113 became the blueprint for all future airborne operations. airborne and troop carrier units are theater operation forces. their employment must be an integral part of the basic plan made by the agency directing all land, sea, and air forces in the operation. a coordinating directive must be issued in time to allow realistic preparation and training by troop carrier and airborne units for the specific operation. airborne troops must be employed on mass and the bulk of the force landed in a small an area as possible. the use of highly trained
10:11 pm
pathfinder tim strauch and advanced to mark dropping zones and glider landing zones is essential. procedures must be prescribed which will ensure that troop carrier aircraft on a course at proper altitudes and on correct time schedules are not fired upon by friendly forces. power pilots and the staff of operational training groups which were committed to the united kingdom were trained in
10:12 pm
flying procedures of the united kingdom before they left the states. ♪
10:13 pm
low-flying was emphasized, designed to prevent early detection by the enemies. throughs had to fly corridor black, pinpointed by searchlights. every aspect of operations in the united kingdom, flying rescue,, air-sea british navigations, weather, all phases of theater training were covered before the units departed overseas. ♪ gliderss ended with
10:14 pm
landing in small fields, similar to the potential landing zones and france. live loads are in the glider. ♪ airborne troops continue in the specialized tactics. are trained to
10:15 pm
stay in action until someone a vacuous. -- until someone even vacuum -- until someone even vacuum a -- until someone evacuates. ♪ meanwhile in england, the planning phase changed to the manning phase. the airborne planning committee headed by the commander-in-chief of the allied expeditionary air force was composed of representatives from all the services involved in the airborne operation -- navy, ground, and hair, as well as the troop carrier command. british ground crews helped
10:16 pm
assemble their own gliders before turning them over to troop carrier. this now belongs to the ninth troop carrier command. each group now had 73 aircraft instead of the normal 52. the troop carrier force of three wings and 14 groups contained one experienced wing and five combat wise groups from the mediterranean. three planes in each squadron are equipped for aerial pickup.
10:17 pm
thorough coordination between ground and air is necessary for accuracy and delivery of resupply containers. these men are pathfinders. a combined team of troop carrier will and technicians who drop on objective areas and set of homing devices for the main aerial convoy. to 14consist of nine technical men and five security personnel. the pathfinder school starting
10:18 pm
with president and table of organization and with little 50 trainednd out crews and 260 airborne officers and men by d-day. pathfinder airplanes were equipped with every navigational used by troop carrier and the flight crews and airborne teams received 30 to 60 hours training in their use, both in the air and on the ground. each pathfinder team is equipped with eight specially designed lights from which [indiscernible] had lived,rews who trained, and were briefed together could navigate to within 600 to 800 yards of a pinpointed position in unfamiliar territory. from march through may, 35 lower echelon and three full scale command exercises were held, culminating in a full dress
10:19 pm
reversal for the operation against the continent. the times, load, distances and navigational aids were exactly as would be used in the assault. landing zones were selected for their similarity to those in normandy, which intelligence showed were 900 to 1500 feet a .ong and averaged 500 feet wide mosaics shall be objective areas would hold 1300 gliders. the normandy field were bounded by trees 15 to 75 feet high along with numerous dense hedges. glider pilots were allowed to choose their own field. release was made at heights from 800 to 1000 feet.
10:20 pm
both ideas were impractical. the higher release made the gliders more vulnerable to ground fire and sacrificed pilotcy and work each chose his landing field, there were conflicting patterns. following this maneuver, it was decided leaders were to choose the landing field from the three other gliders and his element and the release would be made at 400 to 600 feet. ♪
10:21 pm
if field small enough for practical operational training are used, there are certain to be crack of spirit and a compromise must be made between realistic training in the number of gliders which must be expended on the maneuver. one reason the number of crack ups was to be so much higher was that a sufficient number were not available for extensive practice in full load landings into small fields. because of their rugged fuselage construction, most of the gliders which sustained damage upon landing delivered their loads of personnel and equipment and fighting condition.
10:22 pm
-- in fighting condition. airborne infantry file into buses for the last ride until d-day. ♪ these hangars are their barracks
10:23 pm
until they climb upon their gliders. new equipment is issued. ♪ ♪ there's nothing to do now but kill time. nothing, that is, but to keep at the peak and await orders. grab a few moments to read letters from home and write a
10:24 pm
few lines, but this is business. if you want to be sure you are in business when the time comes, you take inventory of your stock and trade and keep everything clean and shining and ready. ships blossomed out of their new warpaint. applied,markings were another lesson from sicily. invasion money revealed the objectives. by now, high command insisted that individuals should know their destinations. hours before takeoff time, packs were assembled and delivered to the c-47's.
10:25 pm
receiveddddd their quotas of troops who would cross the beaches and move forward of -- if troopr carrier and air have done their job. boat.oup was to go in by the list for the required for the -- the lift required aircraft and gliders. time narrowsne and down. gliders for the first operation are assembled for takeoff.
10:26 pm
glider pilots are told to assemble and division headquarters after landing for .vacuation to england and airborne general has a final talk with his men. ♪ troop carrier and airborne have their final inspection. ♪
10:27 pm
paratroopers march their ships at more than a dozen fields. ♪
10:28 pm
each pilot has been furnished a list of his passengers. ♪ para packs are checked.
10:29 pm
this outfit has enough [indiscernible] blood in its collective veins to justify their haircuts. there's a message from the supreme commander. >> you are about to embark on a great crusade. the eyes of the world are upon you and the hopes and prayers of all liberty-loving people go with you. ♪
10:30 pm
crew chiefilot and make a final check of the para packs. para e final check of the pack by the jump master before they go aboard.
10:31 pm
♪ narrator: this trooper will drop
10:32 pm
his leg pack loaded with demolition supplies in foreign lands. ♪ narrator: pathfinder teams board teh ships at dusk that will show the way into enemy territory. aircraft will come home tonight bynavigation aid set up these pathfinders. this is one minute in one hour in one day in the world's history that has rarely been
10:33 pm
equaled. the first ship is airborne at 21:54. the pathfinder heads for the coast of france. planes move into their position at the head of the runway. 30 minutes after the takeoff, c-47s follow on the invasion path.
10:34 pm
♪ carrier: as troop aircraft across tehe channel, the allied fleet ahas weighed anchor. route is actually variable -- 500 to 1,000. visibility is poor. stand up!
10:35 pm
>> ready, weather red. >> stand! green.y, with the >> go! ♪ >> the unit landed squarely on 91st division of enemy troops. they were already occupying defensive positions.
10:36 pm
surprise was only gained by the parachute unit. loads, 13,000 paratroopers were delivered in less than two hours. troop carrier had not planned a train for a night glider landing . was estimated only fifty of personnel and equipment would be available after the landing. the calculated risk was excepted. cg4as were easier to put into a strange field in darkness. 0:200. time for the gliders to go.
10:37 pm
>> approaching lz! >> roger. >> okay! go on! [explosions] the coastal defenses softened up for the beach landing. daybreak. aerial bombardment continues.
10:38 pm
[explosions] narrator: rotors went into ahead of the troops to blast enemy coastal installations. had beenemises achieved a long time before -- air supremacy has been achieved a long time before d-day. a light service ship comes in.
10:39 pm
the marauders go onto the next ailways,he bombing of ri waterways, the isolation of the battlefield. the battlefield is isolated. the beachhead grows. the air force piles up a record number of shore teams.
10:40 pm
fighters blast every target that moves. any target of opportunity is legitimate prey. [machine gun fire]
10:41 pm
♪ narrator: the next gliders are
10:42 pm
being marshaled for take off in england. c47s are doing double duty. they are ready to take off. hardpressed paratroopers are depending on reinforcements and heavier equipment, delivered by these gliders. troops are in the takeoff position to the south. ♪
10:43 pm
the coordinated british effort was made simultaneously by the british sixth airborne division. interesting was the regiment of tanks.
10:44 pm
narrator: air superiority makes possible daylight operation.
10:45 pm
narrator: a mission was ended for this friendly airplane. traffic, and it is congested. these are areas flooded by the
10:46 pm
germans. parachutes and gliders. the gliders, cut loose from the planes. we have fighter cover all the way to the landing zone.
10:47 pm
one of the gliders makes a landing in the flooded area. here are the fields the intelligence warned us about. [explosions]
10:48 pm
narrator: 82nd and 101st airborne divisions were in action 33 and 24 days, respectively. 82nd destroyed river crossings and protected the flank of the second army corps. the 101st destroyed bridges and established a defense area. the troop carrier, the
10:49 pm
commanding general of the 82nd airborne division sent this. "on the most difficult conditions, the fighter pilots did a splendid job. they provided local protection on the command post what it was under heavy attack. please expressed to all of our missionswho performed for us our admiration for their determination to overcome all obstacles and their magnificent spirit of cooperation. this is part of the 1944.paid for june ♪
10:50 pm
1662 troop carrier airplanes were dispatched within the first 24 hours of the assault. 311 were damaged by small arms fire. a corporal with the pathfinders remembers, we were painting down by german fire. the men came running out and stepped right into it. they started to drop all around us. can end up "one glider right in front of us. right inp one glider front of us. it is certainly not desirable if thea dark or dusk landing is at all practical. "the navigation age worked. wasi couldn't see what
10:51 pm
supposed to be on my drop zone." "troopsment observer -- were scattered. prearranged supply systems are not flexible enough for airborne combat. th the large scale parachute supply drops are wasteful. more attention should be paid to switching to ground supply." liaison officer percents were only ten operational. dropsn percent of supply landed in enemy hands. nel shouldier personel
10:52 pm
move with the supply units." were ready forel combat." ♪ normandie,ack from these men would face further tests. how much they had learned would be history, history made by an airborne army. ♪
10:53 pm
>> monday, american history tv and washington journal are marking the 75th anniversary of d-day, with a live the viewer call in program. led the wayrriors to victory in worlrlrlrlrl ii. during the program, we will take phone calls, tweets, and facebook comments. on sunday, june 2,
10:54 pm
complain that george washington and thomas jefferson condoned slavery. neither of them thought the office of the presidency had any power to do anything about it. >> he has written many books, including "economic facts and fallacies." of jointly interactive tweetsations with your and questions, sunday, june 2. >> next, talking about native
10:55 pm
americans in the south before the arrival of europeans. author and history professor at virginia commonwealth university. university of history and culture hosted this event. >> he specializes in native american history. he is the author of several .ooks is about native into their indigenous history, from origins to removable.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on